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Experienced Adoption Attorney Guides Families and LGBTQ+ Couples Through the Complexities of the International Adoption Process in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area

Some couples who seek to adopt choose to adopt a child or children living in another country. While highly rewarding, adopting across national borders can prove to be one of the most complex kinds of adoption, as the process of adopting overseas can differ greatly depending on which country you are adopting from. To ensure that you have the best chance at successfully completing an adoption of a child from another country, turn to an international adoption attorney from Michele Zavos Law.

For nearly four decades, Attorney Michele Zavos has served as a legal advocate and resource for LGBTQ+, heterosexual, and poly families looking to grow through adoption. Her passion is helping clients with real problems and matters, working to figure out how the law can help them build the family they want and deserve.

How an International Adoption Attorney from Michele Zavos Law Can Assist You

International adoption can be incredibly complex for a family. Let international adoption attorney Michele Zavos help you through the process by:

  • Going over your options for international adoption, including countries to adopt from and agencies to work with; this is particularly important for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples
  • Helping you to understand what the international adoption process is like, including whether you may need to go through a formal legal process in the country you are adopting from
  • Preparing and filing immigration paperwork for you and your child to both clear you to adopt and to obtain a visa for your child to travel to the U.S.
  • Preparing and filing adoption paperwork in the U.S. after you and your child return, including going through the re-adoption process to formalize your legal rights

Reach Out to Zavos Law For an Initial Consultation to Get Answers to Your Questions about International Adoption

The international adoption process can be complex and time-consuming. To ensure that you can successfully grow your family, contact Michele Zavos Law to speak with experienced international adoption attorney Michele Zavos, to learn more about the process and your family’s legal rights and obligations.

     “michele is completely
knowledgeable and trustworthy.
she is a dedicated advocate,
particularly for families
like my own.”

Steps in the International Adoption Process

If you (and your spouse or partner) are considering pursuing an international adoption, you can expect the process to involve the following steps:

  • First, you will need to choose which country you want to adopt a child or children from. For LGTBQ+ individuals and same-sex couples, this is an important step, as some countries do not permit adoption by LGBTQ+ individuals or couples.
  • Next, you will need to choose an international adoption agency that is both accredited under the Hague Adoption Convention and certified to work both in the country you are adopting from and the jurisdiction in the U.S. that you live in.
  • You will also need to file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to become eligible to adopt from another country. If you are adopting from a Hague-compliant country, you will need to file a CIS Form I-800A; otherwise, you will file a Form I-600A. You may also need to be declared eligible to adopt by the government of the country you are adopting from.
  • Once you have been declared eligible to adopt by both governments, you will need to find an adoption match through the international adoption agency you are working with. You might travel to the country you are adopting from prior to being matched with a child, or you might wait until you have been matched to travel to the other country to meet your child.
  • After you have traveled abroad and met your child, you will likely need to go through the other country’s legal adoption process to be declared the child’s legal parent or parents so that you can travel back to the U.S. with them.
  • To travel with your child back to the U.S., you will need to file a Form I-800 or Form I-600 to establish your child’s immigration eligibility. If your child is approved to enter the U.S., you will then file a Form DS-260 to obtain their visa.
  • If you traveled to the other country to complete the adoption process in that country, your child will be issued an IH-3 or IR-3 visa.
  • If you did not travel abroad or finalize an adoption in the other country, your child will be issued an IH-4 or IR-4 visa. If your child receives an IH-4/IR-4 visa, you will need to finalize the adoption when you return to the U.S.
  • Regardless of what type of visa your child receives, you may choose to finalize the legal adoption process after returning to the U.S.; this is known as re-adoption.

Contact an International Adoption Attorney to discuss your legal rights and options and learn more about the adoption process.


What is re-adoption and will my family need to do that in an international adoption?
Re-adoption refers to the process by which your child’s adoption is finalized upon your return to the U.S. If your child received an IH-4 or IR-4 visa, your family will be required to go through the re-adoption process. However, obtaining a final adoption order from a U.S. court is always recommended in international adoption to help make sure that your child has all the rights and privileges they are entitled to as the legal child of a U.S. citizen.
What is the Hague Adoption Convention?
The Hague Adoption Convention is an international treaty that seeks to protect children who are being adopted across national lines. The convention sets forth standards that a country must implement in its legal system to oversee international adoptions. The convention also establishes standards for adoption agencies to follow for international adoptions. While it is possible to adopt from a country that has not signed the Hague Adoption Convention, you should ideally only work with adoption agencies that are convention-compliant and accredited to work in the country you are adopting your child from.

let michele zavos help to complete your family.

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